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Barbados Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Air Canada Vacations

23 Feb

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4 decadent rooms and suites at Sandals Barbados

February 23, 2015 | By |

Caribbean Village Honeymoon Premium Room

Located in the Caribbean Village, this stylish room offers absolute comfort, intimacy and relaxation. The inviting bedroom features a four-poster king-size bed, along with mahogany furniture and a flat-screen television. Enjoy a private balcony or patio that leads to the resort’s beautifully landscaped gardens.

Crystal Lagoon Swim-up One Bedroom Butler Suite with Patio Tranquility Soaking Tub

This oversized suite boasts an elegant bedroom, separate expansive living room, en-suite bathroom featuring a circular tub and double vanities, private patio with Tranquility Soaking Tub and zero-entry access to the stunning Crystal Lagoon, as well as exclusive Butler Elite service.

Ocean Village Beachfront One Bedroom Butler Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub

An incredibly luxurious suite with an oversized bedroom, separate living room, en-suite bathroom with a claw-footed tub and dual control walk-in shower, Sandals’ personal Butler Elite service, and private balcony with an outdoor Tranquility Soaking Tub.

Ocean Village Beachfront Club Level Suite with Balcony Tranquility Soaking Tub

Located in the exclusive Ocean Village, this opulent oceanfront suite boasts a spacious bedroom with sitting area, a foyer, a private balcony featuring a Tranquility Soaking Tub offering panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea, and the attentive service of Club Sandals Concierges.

23 Feb

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Must experience in Barbados

February 23, 2015 | By |

Island Routes

Natural Cave & Flower Forest Tour

Enjoy a scenic drive to one of Barbados’ most famed attractions, Harrison’s Cave, the island’s only drive-in cave! Next, enjoy the tranquility of a lush tropical garden where flowers, plants, birds and even monkeys fill 50-acres of Bajan paradise.

Island Routes

Bridgetown Shopping and Historic Walking Tour

Explore the city of Bridgetown on foot! Your tour will take you past the Parliament Building, Queens Park, Heroes Square and Lord Nelson’s statue. After that, it’ll be time to hit the shops! You’ll find everything from handmade crafts to high-end apparel.

Unlimited Scuba Diving for Certified Divers

Did you know only Sandals includes unlimited scuba diving for certified divers? Explore the most exciting dive sites with top-of-the-line equipment, PADI-certified instructors, expert captains, and a fleet of state-of-the-art, custom 49′ Newton dive boats.

Yoga & Yoga Pavilion

Transform body and mind at the dedicated yoga pavilion, a tranquil haven in a beautiful tropical setting. Daily classes for all levels and all equipment are included in your Sandals Luxury Included® vacation.

23 Feb

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Gourmet Discovery Dining at Sandals Barbados

February 23, 2015 | By |

The 11 gourmet restaurants at the new Sandals Barbados offer everything from the freshest sushi to the juiciest steaks. Corporate Chef Josef Jungwirth takes us on a tour that lets our taste buds travel the world.

Why is Gourmet Discovery Dining so important to the Sandals Luxury Included® experience?

Gourmet Discovery Dining is all about giving our guests more variety, authenticity, quality and value than any other all-inclusive resort. Who else offers the highest quality Black Angus and Wagyu steaks without a surcharge, and serves Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee in every restaurant?

This new resort is home to Sandals’ first ever Indian restaurant, Bombay Club. How did this come about?

We’re constantly looking for new concepts to offer our discerning guests. Indian was a natural choice for the island of Barbados.

How did you stay true to Bajan culture and cuisine?

We’ve incorporated local ingredients and Bajan specialties throughout the resort. At Schooners restaurant, for example, the seafood is full of Bajan inspiration, and Bajan specialties are the stars at our weekly beach parties.

Why did Sandals Resorts choose to partner with the Robert Mondavi winery?

We partnered with the Robert Mondavi winery because Mondavi is a long-established brand and their name is synonymous with quality. We serve six different varietals of Twin Oaks wines—three white and three red—so there’s a perfect pairing for every dish.

What cut do you recommend at Butch’s Chophouse, the New York-style steakhouse?

That would have to be our signature steak, the Angus NY Strip Steak, which is selected from a top-quality Midwestern US grain-fed Black Angus steer.

Of all the choices, do you have a favourite dish at the resort?

The butter chicken at Bombay Club. It’s the signature dish and has the perfect blend of flavours without being too spicy.

One decadent dessert we absolutely must try.

The Oreo Crusted Marshmallow Cheesecake with tropical fruit relish and nutmeg ice cream at Butch’s Chophouse. Amazing.

23 Feb

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Live life unlimited at Sandals Barbados

February 23, 2015 | By |

Welcome to Sandals Barbados, a new way to experience the beach hideaways, glamorous evenings and international dining of Barbados. This island was one of Air Canada Vacations’ first destinations and now, 30 years on, we fly here every day from Toronto and three times a week from Montreal, and we couldn’t be happier to introduce this latest Luxury Included® Sandals Resort.

The brand-new Sandals Barbados offers you 11 international gourmet restaurants, unforgettable rooms and suites, many with private Tranquility Soaking Tubs on patios or balconies, and more quality inclusions than any other resorts on the planet. A vacation here is more than an all-inclusive. Here, everything is all included, and it’s all unlimited, all the time.

For first-time visitors or long-time friends, enjoy a new way to live Barbados.

22 Dec

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Top 15 Destinations to Visit in 2015

December 22, 2014 | By |

Wondering what the world has in store for you in 2015? With a new year, comes new resolutions. And with new resolutions, comes the need for new experiences. This upcoming year, make your new experiences about seeing new places, eating new food, meeting new people. Not sure where to start? From luxury destinations to foodie favourites, these top 15 destinations should give you a very good glimpse at what 2015 holds for you.

1) Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas

The hustle and bustle of Nassau never gets old. As both a popular cruise ship port and the commercial hub of the Bahamas, this city has an undeniable pulse. Bay Street is particularly bustling, with its myriad duty-free shops, restaurants and the famous Nassau Straw Market. In 2015, the buzz will be around the opening of Baha Mar, the biggest project to be undertaken in the Bahamas since Atlantis. In addition to 2,200 luxury rooms, this new mega resort will house a Vegas-style casino and approximately 40 restaurants.

2) Saint Lucia

Who knew there was such a thing as a drive-in volcanic crater? Whether you knew of its existence or not, you should know that Saint Lucia has one. It’s called La Soufrière Volanco (or Sulfur Springs) and you can drive up to its crater to witness it emit steam and sulphur. If you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, you can even have a warm sulphuric mud bath (though you should be warned that as much as it softens the skin, its rotten egg smell may not be well received by your nose). If first-time experiences are what you’re after in 2015, then this may be something to add to your wish list.

3) Osaka, Japan

In 2015, you may want to familiarize yourself with the expression kuidore (Japanese for “to eat yourself bankrupt”). Osaka’s food scene is booming and if you have appetite to spare, then you may want to sample Osakan fare. Takoyaki (octopus balls), Kushikatsu (a deep-fried meat or vegetable skewer) and Okonomiyaki (pork- or seafood-filled pancakes) are among street food favourites. And don’t forget to check out the multiple Michelin-star restaurants scattered around the city.

4) Turks & Caicos

Marina at Blue Haven Turks and Caicos

Marina at Blue Haven Turks and Caicos

Turks & Caicos is all about luxury – world-class hotels, spas, golf courses. In the last couple of years, it has undergone even more development in the luxury department. In 2015, make sure to check out some of Providenciales’ newest boutique hotels, including the all-suite Beach House Turks & Caicos and the Blue Haven Turks & Caicos, which has its very own marina!

5) Panama

Panama City Skyline

Panama is a country of stark contrasts: it is highly industrialized on the one hand, yet an eco-friendly haven on the other. If you’re looking for a city pulse similar to Miami, Panama City has got it: its abundant high-rises, dining and nightlife are why it has been dubbed the “Miami of the South.” If nature is more your thing, you can hike through the national parks of Coiba and Darien, awe at the cloud forests of Chiriqui or check out the Panama Canal.

6) Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Pura Vida (literally translated as “Pure Life” in English) is probably the most commonly used expression in Costa Rica. While its uses are varied, the meaning is universal: life is beautiful and you should know it. And if there is any place in the world where you can see Mother Nature’s beauty on full display, it has got to be Costa Rica. This is a country with some of the richest flora and fauna in the world, impeccably fresh produce and amazing vistas. If you have not yet had the chance to visit this mecca of natural beauty, make sure to add it to your 2015 bucket list.

7) Hawaii

Kauai Hawaii

If island hopping is on your travel wish list for the new year, then Hawaii should definitely be on your radar. The Hawaiian Islands have got it all: Visit Kaui for some history, Oahu for action-packed Honolulu, Maui for its culinary delights or the Big Island for its volcanic sights. See more Hawaii Highlights.

8) Milan, Italy

Milan, Italy

Milan is currently in full swing, preparing to host one of the world’s main events of the new year: Expo 2015. The theme of the exposition is “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” and will take place from May 1 to October 31, 2015. It will feature more than 60 custom-built pavilions and the city is currently planning special exhibitions and the opening of new museums for the event.

9) Curaçao

Curacao diving

In 2015, Curaçao will celebrate 5 years of its semi-independence as an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its Dutch influences are nevertheless visible on the island – in the colonial architecture of Willemstad, the local specialties at MarsheBieuw (also called Old Market) and in the local patois called Papiamento. Besides it cultural diversity, Curaçao has over 40 world-class dive spots – see our top 5 here!

10) Grenada

Spice Mas Festival Grenada

Also known as “Spice Island,” Grenada is one of the world’s largest producers of nutmeg and mace. Spice is not Grenada’s only gem though; this island is abundant in other natural riches like its beaches, the Annandale Falls, the beaches at Morne Rouge Bay and Grand Anse, and the flora and fauna of Grand Etang National Park and Forest Reserve. In 2015, get a taste of the island by attending the Spice Mas Festival, Grenada’s colourful carnival that features music, parading and masquerading.

11) Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Move over Riviera Maya, it’s time for Riviera Nayarit to shine. This 320-kilometre stretch of Pacific coastline is definitely a quieter alternative to its Caribbean-sided counterpart. You can golf in one of two Jack Nicklaus golf courses in Punta Mita, surf in Sayulita or relax in the peaceful town of San Blas. Riviera Nayarit will be seeing a significant amount of touristic development in the coming years, so go visit before the crowds swarm in!

12) St. Kitts

St Kitts Sea Turtle

St. Kitts may be small, but that doesn’t mean it should be overlooked when planning your 2015 travels. This little island has plenty of history, which is visible in the capital city of Basseterre. It also has plenty of natural habitat to explore, from its rainforests to its coral reef systems like Sandy Point and Turtle Bar. See our Top 5 Things to See in St. Kitts for more ideas.

13) Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs, California

Palm Springs has had a mini tourism boom in the last few years and its number of lodgings is estimated to be in the triple digits by mid-2015. In addition to its desert scenery, 10,000-foot mountains and evening spas, the city is now also home to the Architecture and Design Center, launched in late 2014 to preserve the city’s desert modernism movement.

14) Barbados

Foodies, there is one thing you should know for 2015: The food scene is absolutely blossoming in Barbados. Having just celebrated its 5th edition this past November, the Barbados Food & Wine and Rum Festival has become a culinary success. In addition to wine and rum tastings, it features cooking demonstrations by international celebrity chefs such as Mark McEwan, Marcus Samuelsson and Anne Burrell. Stay tuned for the 2015 program.

15) Chile

Patagonia, Chile

It’s never too late to visit the end of the earth. After making a stop in the capital city of Santiago (which, by the way, has opened a number of new museums and art galleries in the last few years), most travellers will either head to the Atacama Desert or to trek through the bare, rigged landscapes of Patagonia (a.k.a “the end of the earth”). Another must for a 2015 trip to Chile is its brand new wine and food festival, which will take place in late September.

03 Sep

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Beyond the Beach: Top 10 Things to Do in Barbados

September 3, 2014 | By |

Barbados is so much more than a pretty beach destination. Sure, it has immaculate turquoise waters, year-round warm weather between 25 to 30 degrees and almost no humidity – but there is much more that lies beneath the sun and beyond the sand.

This British-influenced island has a rich history, a variety of sporting and cultural events and an amazing food scene.

When choosing your next winter (or summer) getaway, you may want to consider this gem of a Caribbean Island. Here are some of the top things to do in Barbados:

1) Visit Mount Gay Rum Distillery

Firstly, allow us to give credit where credit is due. We would not have this wonderfully sweet liquor called rum, if it were not for the Barbadians. The first rum, a fiery drink called “Rumbullion” or “Kill Devil,” was made of fermented cane juice and introduced by plantation slaves in the 17th century. Eventually, it underwent distillation and a much smoother alcohol, now known as rum, was born. If you’re interested in seeing where the magic happens, get your fill at Mount Gay Rum Distillery, producer of the oldest brand of rum in the world.

2) Drink rum punch

Barbados-rum-punch

Once the Barbadians perfected their national liquor, they went on to create another delightful alcoholic concoction: rum punch. Luckily for us non-Barbadians, they have made it very easy to remember how it’s made: 1 of sour (lime juice), 2 of sweet (simple syrup), 3 of strong (rum) and 4 of weak (water and ice). Of course, if you’re in Barbados, just head to the local rum shops to savour the real deal.

3) Meet celebrity chefs at the Food & Wine and Rum Festival

Food is a fundamental part of Barbados. It is the first and only Caribbean island to have Zagat-rated food (including its street food!) To honour its culinary heritage, Barbados has recently introduced the Food & Wine and Rum Festival, which takes place in November across various locations on the island. Cooking demonstrations are hosted by international celebrity chefs such as Mark McEwan, Marcus Samuelsson and Anne Burrell. Wine and rum tastings, as well as live entertainment, are also part of the mix. Make sure to get a taste of it all!

4) Try the Oistins Friday Night Fish Fry

Barbados-fish-shack

If you’re in town on a Friday night, don’t miss the Fish Fry at Oistins Bay Gardens. Choose from an array of fish such as tuna, flying fish, mahi-mahi and swordfish and get it grilled or fried. A plate of fish and beer typically costs about US$15. You can also look through the local arts and crafts items on sale and then dance the night away to reggae and calypso beats. No need to dress up for this event – it is totally informal.

5) Have dinner with a show at Harbour Lights

If you like your dinner with a side of show, head to the open-air Harbour Lights nightclub on a Monday or Wednesday night for their Beach Extravaganza. Sink your feet in the sand while enjoying a BBQ dinner, dancing and fire-eating performances.

6) Party it up at Crop Over Festival

Barbados-crop-over-festival

Crop Over is to Barbados what Carnival is to Brazil. It has dancing, parading, vibrant costumes and public street parties. It originally began in 1780 to celebrate the end of the cane harvest, then declined with the sugar industry and was later revived in 1974. The festival runs from May until the first Monday of August, also known as Grand Kadooment Day (both the festival’s grand finale and a national holiday).

7) Sip afternoon tea

While you can really have afternoon tea anywhere in Barbados, Chatters Tea Room remains a unique place to partake in this British West Indian tradition. Located in the Bagatelle Great House, both a former plantation and home of the first governor, Chatters Tea Room provides a historic backdrop to your tea time. If you want to take high tea to even greater heights, indulge in a cake or tartlet too.

8) See historic Bridgetown & its Garrison

Bridgetown is the capital of Barbados, its only city, port of call and historic centre. The Garrison, an 18th– and 19th-century British military base and a current UNESCO World Heritage Site, is its main historic attraction. Within this area you can also find St. Ann’s Fort, the Nidhe Israel Synagogue and the George Washington House, where “Dinners with George” are scheduled to begin in December. (Barbados is the only place George Washington ever visited outside of the US). And for a Canadian historical fact: Did you know the town of Bridgetown, Nova Scotia was actually named after this very Bridgetown in Barbados?

9) Watch a cricket match

Colonial architecture and high tea are not the only contributions the British made to Barbadian culture; when they came, they also brought cricket. Now Barbados’ national sport, cricket has made quite the career for famous Bajan players such as Sir Garfield Sobers. Head to Kensington Oval for professional matches or to take a tour of the stadium where legends have played. For something more local, you can always try to catch an impromptu game in a village field.

10) Sit back and lime

Of all things you must do on your Barbadian vacation, perhaps the most important, is liming – the Barbadian art of having a good time. Liming can be done any time, any place, whether you’re enjoying one of the activities above or hanging out in the comfort of your hotel room. So no matter what, just sit back and have a good lime 😉

Want to know more about Barbados? Check out these insider tip videos or start planning your Bajan getaway today.

 

28 Mar

By

What to do in Barbados

March 28, 2014 | By |

Events not to miss

Top Gear Festival Barbados

May 17-18

Celebrity hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May bring an awe-inspiring line up of cars and driving talent to Barbados for the shows Caribbean debut. Join The Stig, the Top Gear Stunt Team and international guest drivers for this action-packed weekend. topgearfestivalbarbados.com

Food & Wine and Rum Festival

November

Welcome to the epicurean capital of the Caribbean and a vibrant international festival of the very best of local and world cuisines, wines and Bajan rum.

Crop Over Festival

July 4 to August 4

The Caribbean’s longest carnival, Crop Over is an iconic celebration of music, parades and costumes.

28 Mar

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Quick travel facts about Barbados

March 28, 2014 | By |

Fun facts

  • Mount Gay Rum, the oldest rum in the world, has been made since 1703. The Mount Gay visitors centre offers sampling of this delicious rum
  • The beaches of Cattlewash, in Saint Andrew, were once known for their healing qualities, drawing people from all over the world
  • The Lord Nelson Statue in Bridgetown was erected in 1813, 30 years before the famous statue in London's Trafalgar Square

Need to know

  • Language: English is the official language. A Bajan dialect of English is spoken
  • Electricity: 110-120 Volts (same as Canada)
  • Currency: Barbadian dollar (BBD). The US dollar is also generally accepted. Many popular Canadian banks are available.
  • Famous landmark: St. Nicholas Abbey, a plantation house in Saint-Peter, is one of only three Jacobean mansions in the western hemisphere.
  • Flights: Non-stop flights from Toronto year-round and from Montreal between December and April. Connect to your nearest international airport from 66 cities across Canada.

28 Mar

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Brighter Barbados – 65 years of dream vacations

March 28, 2014 | By |

For 65 years Air Canada has proudly flown Canadians just like you to the beauty, culture and charm of Barbados. Air Canada Vacations has a complete collection of hotels, all-inclusive resorts, villas, B&B's, activities and more so you can create the vacation you've always dreamed of; whether that's surfing in Bathsheba, spending a day at Crane Beach, participating in an exciting festival like Crop Over, or enjoying mouthwatering cuisine or an elegant afternoon tea.

 

Don't forget to sample some local rum. Barbados, known as “the birthplace of rum,” has some of the best in the world. No trip here is complete without a little taste of Mount Gay or Malibu special blends. A friendly local will be happy to point you in the direction of their favourite haunt; or you can tour the distilleries and the island, just ask your Air Canada Vacations destination representative.

That's Air Canada Vacations. That's your brighter Barbados.

17 Jan

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Ask the travel experts!

January 17, 2014 | By |

Some people have been there and done that and still can't wait to try even more. We call these people travel experts. We've gathered four expert travellers and asked them to share their globe-trotting wisdom.

1. Of all Air Canada Vacations' beach destinations, which is your favourite?

Claire Newell

I love Maui. I went as a kid with my parents and brothers. Now I go back with my own family. Last year we stayed at the Fairmont Kea Lani with a group of friends over New Year's. It was an amazing trip! Maui has a special place in my heart.

Steve Gillick

The variety of activities in Cuba is pretty amazing. Varadero is perfect for unwinding: just watching the clouds drift by and strolling the soft sand. In addition, there are many places that showcase culture, music, markets, museums, history and adventure especially in nearby Santiago, Trinidad and Havana.

Ryan Murdock

Barbados. It has icing sugar beaches, and translucent water you'd swear was glass. Splurge on an upscale meal at Champers, or party with the locals at Oistin's Fish Fry. And be sure to drive north to St. Nicholas Abbey, where you can tour he old plantation house and purchase a bottle of the most fragrant white rum I've ever tasted.

IIona Kauremszky

I'm a big lover of nature and sun so for me it's whale watching off the coast of Samana D.R. and then hitting the nearby soft white sands of Cayo Levantado that make the perfect beach holiday. The water is a clear heavenly blue and some of the nicest I've seen.

2. Of all Air Canada Vacations' destinations, what is your ultimate vacation destination?

Claire Newell

South America is definitely next on my bucket list — specifically The Galapagos in Ecuador and Machu Picchu in Peru. I would just love to experience those places with my husband and kids.

Steve Gillick

French Polynesia offers the opportunity to explore the mystical, dreamy destinations of Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, all in the spirit of immersing oneself in places that are totally different from what we are used to.

Ryan Murdock

Chile. Where else can you explore the world's driest desert, climb to the snow line on Andean peaks, take a dip in the ocean and tour a winery, all in the same weekend? I'd also love to take a side trip to Easter Island, to satisfy a childhood obsession.

IIona Kauremszky

Wow, that's a difficult one. I always wanted to go to Peru to see the Inca city of Machu Picchu plus I hear the culinary scene in Lima is one of the hottest right now.

3. What is your best-kept travel secret?

Claire Newell

Like I mentioned, Maui is spectacular. The beaches in Wailea are gorgeous. The Fairmont Kea Lani is amazing and the rooms are big (over 800 sq ft). Our family's favourite restaurant there is Monkeypod.

Steve Gillick

Tsuzuku is a tiny seafood izakaya (restaurant/bar) tucked away on a side street in the Kagurazaka district of Tokyo. It features melt-in-your mouth fresh seafood in a very friendly, laid-back, atmosphere. For an authentic off-the-beaten-track, memorable dining experience, this is the place to go.

Ryan Murdock

Wales. You can't throw a stone without hitting a 13th-century church, hilltop castle, or Roman site. Follow the trail of poet Dylan Thomas, and pay a visit to his childhood home. Enjoy local delicacies and crisp microbrews. Or just hike the green rolling hills and torn off coast. It's definitely Europe's best-kept secret.

IIona Kauremszky

I love exploring Edinburgh with my spouse who is an award-winning film director. His unique perspective and brilliant observations on the architecture and hearing about all those great Scots add so much to my own personal experience. As a writer, there's always something to discover in Edinburgh. It's no wonder authors have hailed from there for centuries.

4. What is your best packing tip?

Claire Newell

The second you think of packing something, PAC IT. If you wait, you will forget. And, if you can't afford to lose it (either financially or emotionally), don't pack it.

Steve Gillick

Bubble wrap! I collect wine, sake and tribal masks. When I started to bring bubble wrap with me, the breakage rate dipped to 0%. Toilet paper is a great substitute. Thickly wrap delicate items and they will be protected in your checked luggage.

Ryan Murdock

You don't need it. And if you do, you can find it locally. Oh, and leave those travel gadgets behind — the clotheslines, universal sink stopper, inflatable neck pillow, travel steam iron, sheet sleeping bag, etc. You'll never use them. But you will drag them around for the rest of your trip.

IIona Kauremszky

Ziploc bags — I can't carry enough of them. They're good for storing suntan lotion, wet swimsuits and help keep all my stuff sorted.

 

Claire NewellClaire Newell

Claire Newell is the official travel consultant for Global BC and best-selling author of Travel Best Bets – An Insider's Guide to Taking Your Best Trips, Ever. Her latest television role is as co-host of the new travel series Operation: Vacation, airing on Travel & Escape. Follow Claire at www.clairenewell.com and on Twitter @clairenewell

Steve GillickSteve Gillick

Steve Gillick is a travel industry trainer with over 30 years of travelling, speaking, writing, coaching and promoting what he refers to as “infectious enthusias about travel”. Steve is president of the consultancy, Talking Travel. To date he has explored 68 countries and over 530 destinations. www.talkingtravel.ca

Ryan MurdockRyan Murdock

Ryan Murdock is Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Outpost magazine, and the author of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America. www.ryanmurdock.com

IIona KauremszkyIIona Kauremszky

Unabashedly passionate about discovering the world beyond her door, this award-winning travel journalist's bags are always packed and ready for the next big adventure. Ilona Kauremszky invites you to follow her travel pursuits on Twitter and YouTube @mycompasstv.